London’s biggest grassroots basketball league, the CBL, celebrated its second annual All-Star Game at the Copper Box Arena during the opening weekend of the iconic Olympic legacy venue. Featuring the best players from North and South London U18 divisions, the highly anticipated game lived up to its billing, with the capital’s future stars welcoming in the new Arena with a bang.
The North All-Stars were coached by Youngbloods head coach, Steve Onuretti and featured 4 players from the Youngbloods, 2 Brent Ballers, 4 Haringey Hawks, 1 Hackney Jedi and 1 representative from the Frenford Falcons. The South All-Stars were coached by Olympic torch bearer and Kennington Generals Associate Head Coach, Percy Hutchful and featured 4 Kennington Generals, 4 Peckham Pride and the two Thomas-Wright brothers from the Wandsworth Wolves.
As the first quarter got underway, it was the North All-Stars who flew out to an early 6 point lead behind the hot shooting of the Hawks Kyle Carey and fast break playmaking of Cleve Charles. However the South came storming back led by Gilles Louthe and Peckham Pride’s England International Denzel Ubiaro. Rohan Henry added a NBA-deep 3 pointer from 27 feet to push the South into a slim lead, which they maintained through to the half, leading 28-24 at the break.
Javel Small (Haringey Hawks) is one of the brightest young talents in the league and so it was only a matter of time before he made his presence felt on the game. A slicing drive to the basket, sandwiched between a couple of 3 pointers of his own, pushed the North All-Stars back in front. Youngbloods post player Kevin East put his name on the game with a couple of nice moves inside to further increase the North lead, but an equally impressive crossover, drive and finish by Reece Thomas-Wright kept the South within striking distance going into the 4th quarter.
In a wild 4th, the lead swung back and forth as Carey and Small led the scoring for the North, while Louthe led the way for South, until Toheeb Suliaman finally found his range with a couple of big 3-pointers pushed the South into a 4 point lead. A Kevin East putback and another Small drive and score tied the game at 32 and the exciting London clash looked to be heading for overtime. However, in the biggest play of the game it was Rohan Henry who stepped up to make a play, drawing a foul on the drive and calmly stepping to the free throw line to knock down both shots and lead the South All-Stars to a 2 point win and snatching the MVP award from the grasp of an also deserving Gilles Louthe.
South All-Stars & Scorers
4 – Kelvin Appiah – Kennington Generals
5 – Toheeb Suliaman – Peckham Pride (6 points)
6 – Denzel Ubiaro – Peckham Pride (5 points)
8 – Rohan Henry – Peckham Pride (10 points)
10 – Gilles Louthe – Kennington Generals (9 points)
11 – Rowan Thomas-Wright – Wandsworth Wolves (2 points)
12 – Christie Gambiri – Kennington Generals
13 – Reece Thomas-Wright – Wandsworth Wolves (7 points)
14 – Ola Aworetan – Peckham Pride
15 – Joel Ufele – Kennington Generals (2 points)
Coach: Percy Hutchful, Kennington Generals
North All-Stars All-Stars & Scorers
4 – Cleve Charles – Youngbloods (2 points)
5 – Isiah Alexis – Brent Ballers
6 – Efe Walker – Brent Ballers (1 point)
7 – Kyle Carey – Haringey Hawks (11 points)
8 – Gideon Lewis – Haringey Hawks
9 – Ashley Greenway – Youngbloods
10 – Courtney Grant-Allen – Haringey Hawks (1 point)
11 – Gerrard Kaonga – Frenford Falcons (2 points)
13 – Javel Small – Haringey Hawks (12 points)
12 – Emmanuel Odunsi – Youngbloods (1 point)
14 – Rossano Dias – Hackney Jedi’s (2 points)
15 – Kevin East – Youngbloods (6 points)
Coach: Stephen Onuretti, Youngbloods